Local News

One hurt in I-40 crash in Durham

Posted September 24, 2012 7:06 a.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2012 10:52 a.m. EDT

— A motorist was in critical condition Monday after being ejected from his vehicle during an early morning wreck on Interstate 40 that closed westbound lanes for nearly three hours.

The crash happened about 4:30 a.m. at Fayetteville Road, or Exit 276, according to Durham police.

Police said Nigel Juan Cruz, 24, of Smithfield, was driving his 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe west on the interstate when his vehicle rear-ended a 2004 Saturn Vue driven by Luke Dowling, 18, of Cary, police said. 

Cruz was thrown from the car and sustained life-threatening injuries, police said. He was taken to Duke Hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

Dowling was uninjured in the crash, which caused significant damage to both vehicles.

Police said speed, alcohol and reckless driving were all factors in the crash.

All lanes of the roadway were closed and traffic diverted onto Fayetteville Road as crews worked to clear the wreck. The lanes reopened shortly before 7 a.m., but congestion continued to affect the morning commute.

The wreck was the second to cause a major delay on I-40 in Durham in less than 24 hours.

All eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed at N.C. Highway 54 for about an hour Sunday afternoon following a wreck that sent two people to the hospital, police said.

The crash happened shortly before 1 p.m. near Exit 273 in Durham, when one car rear-ended another. Congestion in the area continued for at least an hour after lanes were reopened, authorities aid.

Two people suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The wreck is still under investigation. No other information was released.